ALAA SAEED Citi

Citigroup

Alaa Saeed

Global Head of Electronic Platforms and Distribution, CitiFX, Citigroup

One of the key challenges facing Europe’s multitrillion-dollar bond market is the fragmentation of the complex market. There are many types of fixed-income securities in multiple formats, and firms have an ever-growing number of venues where they can trade them. It makes standardization difficult.

At Citigroup, Alaa Saeed is developing solutions through electronic trading — or, in his words, tackling the “increasing complexity associated with the fragmentation of [foreign exchange] liquidity, and the proliferation of connectivity providers and platforms.”

Saeed is responsible for the design, development, and distribution of Citi’s electronic foreign exchange and local markets capabilities. Previously, he spearheaded the design and development of Citi Velocity Trading, the bank’s flagship proprietary online analytics and trading platform. Citi Velocity was a first mover in the mobile trading space during the pandemic and was able to service clients throughout the lockdown while experiencing record-breaking engagement.

"To me, disrupting finance is about unlocking value — which can mean many things — by challenging the status quo," Saeed says.

He is also working on a unified, standardized foreign-exchange protocol, including a scorecard process for clients to help develop a standard set of benchmarks and criteria for platform comparison.

London-based Saeed, who has been with Citi since 2007, says having people of colour in leadership positions is an imperative for the finance industry.

“It’s an important part of building a more inclusive and diverse industry, where people of colour feel comfortable, celebrated, can bring their authentic selves into work, remain in finance and tech firms for longer, and can see a path to success and career growth,” he says. “Ultimately the entire industry will benefit, not to mention the positive knock on impact into society as a whole.”